Simplified COVID Service Contract

What is it?

A short-term alternative payment contract option available to most FFS physicians whose income is impacted by COVID-19. The Contract template is available here.

Who is it for?

The contract is available to physicians who are currently paid by FFS and who expect to experience  an ongoing reduction in the volume of services they deliver during the COVID pandemic.  

The contract is not available to the following groups of physicians who have the option of other AP contracts set out on this page:

Length

The contract duration is a minimum of six months and can cover a term to end no later than December 31, 2021 and provides either party the option of terminating without cause with sixty days’ written notice. 

Where a contracted physician finds that the services increase to the point they can generate a better income under FFS, the physician may terminate the contract and move back to FFS on five days’ written notice if they commit to continue to provide the same services for the balance of the contract term. However, physicians will not be able to switch back and forth between payment modalities on a repeat basis.  

Payment and expectations

The contract is generic with respect to the services expected but requires physicians to continue to provide the same kind of services that they have historically provided under their FFS arrangement, or if new to practice, that are typically provided by a FFS physician. Physicians are required to continue to provide in-person patient care as needed, this contract cannot be used for virtual care only.

The contract covers all of the physician’s services over the contracted period including:

  • Direct and indirect patient care
  • Clinically related teaching and clinically related research
  • Clinical Administrative services including reporting of hours
  • Up to an additional 5% of hours worked to support activities necessary for clinical service redesign of the physician’s practice/clinic in order to address the impacts of COVID-19 on service delivery, clinical processes and patient flow

Physicians must bill and assign to the health authority all FFS and third party billings, except that physicians may retain those FFS billings for services funded by WorkSafeBC, with those services not counted towards the hours in the contract.

Payments under the new contract are based on hours worked and are paid at 90% of the range that applies to the applicable Practice Category for Service Contracts under the Physician Master Agreement based on 1680 hours worked in a year. Note that some of these rates will be increased retroactively to incorporate increases currently being determined by the Allocation Committee and the After-Hours Adjudication panel.  

Physicians bill for each hour worked up to a maximum of 1,867 hours per year. The hourly rates as of April 1, 2019 can be found here.

The contract is effective the first day of its term once it is signed. There is no retroactive payment.  

Administration

The contract is an agreement between a regional health authority and an individual physician. Health authorities may also consider entering into a group contract with physicians who provide the same services in a facility.

How to know if the contract is right for you

This contract may be of interest if your practice continues to see reduced patient volumes and access due to COVID-19. 

In order to assess the value of the contract, physicians should consider their anticipated workload and income under the FFS model to determine if it exceeds the value of the Simplified COVID Service Contract.

Webinar recording

Mr Paul Straszak, Doctors of BC Chief Negotiator, and Mr Mark Armitage, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health hosted a one hour webinar to walk members through the Simplified COVID Contracts that are being offered to BC physicians followed by a Q & A session.

 

Contact for more information

For more information, email .